Arizona Press Club Honors Phoenix New Times Writers and Designers

New Times contributors tied for first place for immigration reporting in this year's Arizona Press Club contest.
New Times contributors tied for first place for immigration reporting in this year's Arizona Press Club contest. Teresa Villegas

The results are (finally) in. New Times picked up nine first-place statewide awards and additional accolades from the Arizona Press Club for work created in 2016.

Our design department took home three first place wins. Art Director Tom Carlson placed first for tabloid/magazine cover design. And he took home another blue ribbon for photo-based illustration with the image he created for the story "Another Dead Soldier."

click to enlarge Carlson captured a first place for photo illustration with this cover. - TOM CARLSON
Carlson captured a first place for photo illustration with this cover.
Tom Carlson

“The use of toy soldiers for this story was a creative solution that takes a visual cliche and makes it fresh by using the green soldiers as background and red and white soldiers to form the medic symbol,” the judge wrote.

In addition, contributor Tim Lane placed first in the illustration category for a drawing that depicted the on-campus escort scene on college campuses.

“This illustration draws inspiration from 1950s pulp magazine covers which is a smart approach for a 'scandalous’ story like Sugar U,” the judge wrote. “The artist captures the pulp style well with lurid colors and shocked/disapproving passersby watching the coed and sugar daddy with mouths agape.”

Arts and Music Editor Becky Bartkowski placed first in the arts reporting category for her series “100 Creatives,” an entry the judge called “smart and essential.” Bartkowski also placed second in arts criticism.

Contributor Robrt Pela won a first-place award in social issues reporting for his story about his time as a caretaker for his mother, who has Alzheimer’s disease.

“This is an incredible piece,” the judge wrote. “It makes accessible and deeply personal a topic of great import for our society. The author did not shy away from the realities of being a family caregiver, and his authenticity while exploring the true potential of a new local program sets his writing apart.”

Pela also took home a second place award in business reporting for his profile of the upstart mattress company Tuft & Needle.

The story “captures the spirit and ethos of Silicon Valley — in Phoenix,” the judge wrote. "First person is hard to pull off, but the experience of shopping at a traditional mattress store vs. Tuft & Needle is extremely effective. Don’t be fooled by the conversational tone of this story. It’s packed full of solid business reporting about the mattress industry, Tuft & Needle’s revenue, and how competitors are responding.”

New Times contributors tied for first place in immigration reporting. Alberto Rios was acknowledged for his essay about Phoenix’s role as a bordertown of sorts, which appeared in the 2016 Best of Phoenix issue.

“Author Alberto Rios captured the essence of cities on the Arizona-Mexican border and a culture that is too-often unappreciated by those who don’t know the region,” the judge wrote. “His article gave readers a view of what it is like to have grown up in a border town. Personal, yet not overblown, his story put us in shoes that we don’t often get to wear. The Phoenix New Times provided attractive on-in presentations in both English and Spanish.”

John M. Glionna also took home a first-place immigration award.

From the judge: “Writer John M. Glionna did an exception job in detailing the work of the Pima County Medical Examiner’s office to identify migrants who have died while trying to enter the United States illegally. He first focused on men who drowned while crossing from Nogales, Sonora, through a drainage tunnel running under the border, and then he skillfully widened the lens to view many issues of U.S. immigration policies.”

Glionna also placed first in the personality profile category for a story about comedian Doug Stanhope.

New Times
placed first and second in the food and beverage reporting category.

Our food critic Patricia Escarcega took home first place for a story about the emerging Mexican sushi trend.

The judge wrote that the “curiosity, respect and strong journalistic skills which Escarcega brought to the topic resulted in a story which will forever change Valley residents’ understanding of how foodways evolve and change. Bravo.”

Contributor Shelby Moore placed second for his story about Phoenix’s tiki culture.

“Great example of contextualizing a restaurant opening in a way that deepens readers’ appreciation of their hometown’s cocktail culture,” the judge wrote. “This is a very well-structured story with plenty of vivid details to make the history stick.”

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Amy Silverman is a two-time winner of the Arizona Press Club’s Journalist of the Year award. Her work has appeared on the radio show This American Life and in the New York Times, the Washington Post, Lenny Letter, and Brain, Child. She’s the co-curator of the live reading series Bar Flies, and a commentator for KJZZ, the NPR affiliate in Phoenix. Silverman is the author of the book My Heart Can’t Even Believe It: A Story of Science, Love, and Down Syndrome (Woodbine House 2016). Follow her on Instagram (@amysilverman), Twitter (@amysilvermanaz), and at